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A recent trip to the Kopeika grocery store illustrates a positive side of the crisis on people's mentality.
I got in line at the checkout counter. I started unloading my full cart. Once everything had already passed through the price scanner, I started packing everything into my backpack and plastic bags. Pulling out my two purses -- one with coins and another one with bills -- I was ready to pay. To my shock, I realized that there was almost no money in the purse with the bills. I apologized profusely, explaining to the cashier and everyone around me that I left my money at home.
There was a dead silence for a second, and then the woman behind me said, "It's OK dear. You must have had a hard day." And then the cashier said, "I'll call an employee to help us here." Everybody was so patient with me while I held up the line, unpacking my backpack. It was unbelievable.
There I was at a low-budget Moscow grocery store with mobs of people in line, and no one said anything rude to me. Actually, I had a feeling they were truly sorry for me, thinking: "The financial crisis. This unfortunate woman doesn't have enough money to pay for her groceries."
The crisis may be a real turning point. People are becoming more tolerant, patient and compassionate. If it stays this way, I thank the crisis for that. Although it has a lot of the negative consequences, the crisis also brings some positive traits out of the Russian character.
Kristina Bulacheva

Media Bias Against Russia

In response to "Back-Scratching in America," a column by Alexei Pankin on Nov. 18.

I don't know where Pankin gets his information from regarding the Western media. I live in Canada and follow current events daily. The information that Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia was given by CBC television.
I also watch the BBC daily. At no time did I have the impression that information was withheld. The main criticism against Russia in the Western media was that its reaction to the incident was excessive. To be fair, I do believe that the media had little access to the South Ossetian territory initially to fully assess the extent of damage.
Carol Head

I found Pankin's assertions a bit rich, to put it mildly. Western media has certainly things to answer for, but to infer that the Russian media is a standard-bearer for objectivity is a bit too much.
Tomas Eriksson
Malmo, Sweden

Stoking the Crisis Flames

In response to "World Bank Sees Grim Year Ahead," a front-page article by Ethan Wilensky-Lanford on Nov. 10.

The headline on this story only reinforces the negative emotions that are a major factor in stimulating a financial crisis.
The moderate ruble depreciation in relation to the dollar and euro and the 3 percent growth in gross domestic product forecasted in the World Bank report are facts that I would describe with words such as calm, stabilizing, sustainable or even encouraging. These statistics don't grab the reader's attention, but they more accurately reflect the positive impact that a temporary slowdown in Russia's overheated economy will have in the long run.
Darrell Stanaford
Managing director, Russia & Ukraine
CB Richard Ellis

Rewriting the Holodomor

In response to "Ukraine Commemorates Holodomor," a combined report on Nov. 24.

Every historian and citizen from Ukraine knows that food was confiscated by Stalin's troops during the Holodomor. Why is President Dmitry Medvedev so set on manipulating the truth and rewriting history?
Maybe it is because he and his colleagues are prepared to accept "collateral damage" to consolidate their power. The Kremlin knows very well exactly what has happened during the famine of 1932-33. Whether you call it forced collectivization, genocide or jihad is just a game of words. The truth is that millions of people were sacrificed to strengthen Soviet power.
J. Buijs